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Whistleblowers as information sources

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

Whistleblowers attempt to disclose information about what they perceive as illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practices. Fraud investigators reconstruct the past after suspicions of misconduct and financial crime. Whistleblowers are an important source of information for many fraud investigators. In this chapter, characteristics of whistleblowers and their trustworthiness as information sources and the quality of pieces of information are discussed.

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Testing convenience theory

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

This chapter tests convenience theory by studies of autobiographies. We were able to find a variety of statements produced by offenders that illustrate application of neutralization techniques in the behavioral dimension of convenience theory. Convenience theory is also tested in student elicitations, where students’ average responses indicate that issues in convenience theory are more important to determine white-collar crime than issues in society. The five most important issues are all convenience items.

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Student survey on convenience theory

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

To study convenience theory empirically, this chapter presents a student elicitation on white-collar crime. Student elicitation is derived from expert elicitation, where experts are asked to say something about the unknown. Expert elicitation seeks to make explicit and utilizable knowledge and attitudes in the heads of experts. Expert elicitation seeks to make explicit and utilizable the unpublished knowledge and wisdom in the heads of experts, based on their accumulated experience as well as their interpretation and reflection in a given context. Elicitation is defined as collecting information from people as part of human intelligence. An elicitation technique or elicitation procedure is applied to collect and gather information from people. Expert elicitation is defined as the synthesis of opinions of experts on a subject where there is uncertainty due to insufficient data.

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Sample of US investigation reports

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

Many internal investigation reports are kept secret. Reports are the property of clients who often do not want to damage their reputation or leak business secrets. In 2015, it was possible to identify and obtain a total of 13 publicly available investigation reports. These 13 investigations are presented in this chapter.

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The quake

The Complexities of Individual and Organizational Decision-Making

Karin Brunsson and Nils Brunsson

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Organizational Opportunity and Deviant Behavior

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

Ever since Sutherland coined the term ‘white-collar crime’, researchers have struggled to understand and explain why some individuals abuse their privileged positions of trust and commit financial crime. This book makes a novel contribution to the development of convenience theory as a framework to understand and explain ‘white-collar crime’.
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Organizational dimension of convenience theory

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

The organizational dimension sets white-collar criminals apart from other financial criminals. Abusing social security benefits, committing tax evasion, or committing Internet fraud on a personal level is not considered white-collar crime. White-collar crime is defined as financial crime committed in a professional capability in an organizational context. While possibilities in the economical dimension are concerned with convenient abilities for the achievement of goals (avoid threats and gain benefits such as real estate and foreign establishment), opportunities in the organizational dimension revolve around how crime can be committed conveniently. The economical dimension answers the why, while the organizational dimension answers the how of white-collar crime. We distinguish between the economic ability to realize wishes, meet needs, and fulfill desires, and professional opportunity to implement white-collar crime in connection with regular business activities.

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Empirical study of white-collar criminals

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

As evidenced in this chapter, convenience orientation can be identified among convicted white-collar criminals. Their convenience orientation was frequently present in all three dimensions of convenience theory. We suggest that executives with a greater degree of convenience orientation will be more inclined to implement convenient strategies to achieve personal and business goals. If crime is a more convenient option to reach a goal, then executives with a greater degree of convenience orientation will have a stronger tendency to break the law. In this line of reasoning, the extent of white-collar crime can be reduced if executives with strong convenience orientation are identified. Executives and others in the elite who strongly dislike spending time and effort on time-consuming and complicated procedures, might be identified by implementing review procedures and surveillance mechanisms to prevent them from committing crime. Individual convenience orientation can be reduced by an increased subjective likelihood of detection. Simply stated, if you think you will get caught, you do not commit crime.

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Economical dimension of convenience theory

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

The motive for white-collar crime is simply financial gain. The motive for financial gain, however, can vary. Crime might be a response to both possibilities and threats, and it might be a response to both strengths and weaknesses. An offense can enable exploration and exploitation of a business or a personal possibility that may otherwise seem unobtainable. An offense can enable avoidance of business threats or personal threats. An offense can make the business or the personal situation even stronger, and it can reduce and compensate for business or personal weaknesses. Financial gain as motive for white-collar crime can either benefit the individual or the organization. If illegal financial gain benefits the individual, it is labeled occupational crime. The individual benefits personally from illegal economical gain in a setting where his or her occupation enables white-collar crime. The motive for personal financial gain can vary in terms of possibilities and threats, and strengths and weaknesses.

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Decisions

The Complexities of Individual and Organizational Decision-Making

Karin Brunsson and Nils Brunsson

Decisions and the complexity of decision-making are central topics in several social science disciplines, including those of social psychology, political science and the study of organizations. This book draws on insights from all of these disciplines and provides a concise overview of some of the most intriguing and salient observations and arguments in the research about decision-making. The book first deals with basic decision making logics and applies them to both individual and organizational decision making. The book then deals with consequences of decisions and the complications of making decisions in a political context, where many individuals and organizations are involved.